Gardening Tips - Christmas Cactus

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Article submitted by Rahe Richards,  member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society

We are approaching the time of the year when people give Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus) as hostess gifts. They bloom with beautiful red, pink or white flowers then they go dormant and many people then throw them out. 

These plants can be kept year after year as house plants and they can grow larger throughout the years if they are looked after with the simple steps listed below.

Some also take the plant outdoors in the summer months. Others, showcase the Christmas Cactus as a beautiful table arrangement by using two or more plants with different coloured blooms in the same pot or a set of 2 or 3 pots each featuring one of the bloom colours.

Christmas Cactus

4 Simple Steps to Care for a Christmas Cactus

  • After blooming, keep watered every week, or when the top one inch of soil is dry. Many people prefer to place the pot in another dish and then allow the plant to absorb its water from that dish. Be sure your original pot has holes in the bottom to allow the water to get to the plant.
  • When the weather turns warm in the summer, you can bring these potted plants outdoors where they will start to grow again showing red tips which turn into leaves. Continue to water and fertilize with an all purpose fertilizer. Of course, if you prefer, you can keep your plant indoors year-round.
  • As soon as the first frost hits it in the fall, bring the plant indoors again and place it in a nice bright spot with indirect light. They will start to bloom for Christmas.
  • A few friends allow their plant to get a little drier after Christmas for a month or so – not too dry though – and then water as normal again for an additional blooming season around Easter.